topic

Making cultures

From sending gifts and cassette tapes of news to loved ones to producing visual, written, aural, and performing arts, “making cultures” reflects the enormous diversity of everyday, exceptional creation that Filipinos in the Philippines and its diaspora undertake to make sense of and comment upon their conditions. These scholarly and creative works indicate both the range of ways in which Filipinos make culture and the intensity with which they engage it.

 

As they go about the daily culture-making of getting to and from work, taking care of themselves and others, eating and being, Filipinos also make cultures by writing, painting, sculpting, performing, by intervening in and disrupting their erasure with their presence. These latter, more familiar modes of making culture draw on Filipinos' ongoing experiences of imperial history, global movement, labor, and encounter. The range of responses and intersections between the works gathered here further indicates the intensity and vitality with which Filipinos and others engage with the process and meaning of making cultures.

 

By recognizing these activities as a formal topic, CA+T underscores that making cultures is just as much a form of labor, albeit frequently unrecognized and unpaid, as the more formalized work that drives much of Filipinos’ global migration.

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Clare Counihan

b. 1977
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Clare Counihan earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her B.A. in English Literature from Duke University. Her research focuses on contemporary southern African experimental literature and the relationship between narrative form and national belonging for unbeloved subjects. She is also deeply interested in food: eating it, cooking it, understanding the ways it reflects and mediates our identities and interactions.

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Sarita Echavez See

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Sarita Echavez See was born in New York City but raised as an "embassy brat" moving from city to city around the world. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she first became involved with U.S. women of color politics, especially the arts and culture movement. She obtained her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. While studying in New York City, she met the Filipino American artists and writers who inspired and continue to inspire her teaching and scholarship. In 2013, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Riverside, where she is an associate professor of Media and Cultural Studies. She previously taught at Williams College, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Davis. Her research and teaching interests include Asian American and Filipino American cultural critique, postcolonial and empire studies, narrative, and theories of gender and sexuality. She is the author of the book-length study The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), in which she argues that contemporary Filipino American forms of aesthetic and performative abstraction powerfully expose and indict the history of American imperialism as itself a form of abstraction. She is at work on the book-length project “Against Accumulation,” which is a study of the politics of accumulation in the American museum and university and of the politics of anti-accumulation in Filipino American theatre, writing, and visual art. She was one of the core organizers of the 2011 conference "Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide" held at the University of California, Riverside, and she has served as a member of the working board of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association. In her work with the Center for Art and Thought and its focus on the contemporary medium of the digital, she envisions CA+T to be a transnational venue for more meaningful, reciprocal encounters between artists and scholars, and she is committed to fostering new forms of literacy, rather than tutelage, and to the transformation, rather than the mere transmission and replication, of knowledge.

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  • Born: New York, NY, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Alexander Orquiza

b. 1980

Alexander Orquiza is a historian of the twentieth century United States and the Philippines. From 2012-2013, he was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Wellesley College, and he joined the Tutorial Board of History and Literature at Harvard University in fall 2014. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, his M.Phil. from the University of Edinburgh, and his Ph.D. in history from the Johns Hopkins University.
 
His work focuses on cultural and intellectual exchange between the US and the Philippines. His first book, A Pacific Palate: Food and the Philippine Middle Class during the American Period, 1898-1946, is forthcoming. It examines how American colonial reformers, businessmen, educators, and bureaucrats used food to transform the daily lives of Filipinos. Orquiza contends that food reform was essential to the American imperial mission in the Philippines. It created new consumers for American goods as well as farmers who produced goods for the American consumer market. These food reforms affected generations of Filipino public school students and transformed menus in restaurants and hotels. They were part of visual culture in magazine and newspaper advertisements, and were the focus of Philippine-American economic and political debates.
 
Orquiza argues that food is a powerful lens for examining history. Too often, society only considers the fleeting consumer aspects of food—where is the hip new restaurant, what is the latest food fad, how to make so-called “authentic” versions of dishes. But society often ignores the equally important aspects of food supply: how do ingredients arrive at our tables, who is working in farms and kitchens, are they receiving a fair and decent wage. Orquiza asserts history has shaped our individual roles in this market. Knowing how these roles evolved and how they changed over time is just as important as nutritional labels and Yelp reviews. As a historian, Orquiza believes the answers to these questions about food lie in our knowledge of the past.
 

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Amy Besa

Amy Besa is a native of the Philippines and with her husband and business partner, Romy Dorotan, also from the Philippines, owns and operates Purple Yam in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, New York. Previously, the couple owned the Filipino restaurant Cendrillon in New York, which was open from 1995 to 2009.

In 2006, Amy and Romy co-authored Memories of Philippine Kitchens (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2006), which won the IACP [interntaional Association of Culinary Professionals] Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Quality of Research Presentation.

The book describes the melding of native traditions with those of Chinese, Spanish, and American cuisines. They have spent years tracing the foods of the Philippines, and in the book they share the results of that research. From Lumpia, Pancit, and Kinilaw to Adobo and Lehon (the art of the well-roasted pig), the authors document dishes and culinary techniques that are rapidly disappearing and in some cases unknown to Filipinos whether in the Philippines or abroad.

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  • Born: The Philippines
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

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Bibingka

Kay Cuajunco

2014 Video 10m 30s Courtesy of the artist.

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Kay Cuajunco

b. 1986
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Kay Cuajunco is a queer pinay activist, educator, and filmmaker. She was born in Guam and is currently based in Oakland, CA. As a granddaughter of Filipino farmers, she reclaims her connection to land through her work organizing for food justice, and she finds healing and creative inspiration cooking for cultural survival. Her first film Roots of Struggle, an anti-imperialist love story revealing the intimate violence of the military-industrial-complex on queer youth, premiered at the Queer Women of Color Film Festival in San Francisco, screened at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit and the Assata Will Rise showcase at the Eastside Arts Alliance, and was awarded best short at the Oakland Pride Film Festival in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Arts from San Francisco State University where she wrote her thesis on critical pedagogy and farmworker solidarity movements, focusing on the ideas on Paulo Freire and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Bibingka is a short film that explores how recipes tell stories of migration and cultural survival through the lens of Filipino foods. Behind every recipe there are countless memories of celebration, ritual, and comfort that allow us to reclaim our connection to the land, family, and home. Bibingka is one of the first Filipino desserts I learned how to cook with my mom and the smell of which always reminds me of home. Throughout the silent journey of making this dessert from looking through the aisles for ingredients to putting it into the oven, you can hear stories about Filipino food to narrate the feelings and memories of love, care, absence, and frustration that come up while cooking. Featuring voices from the Filipino diaspora, Bibingka awakens our senses to the urgency to keep the legacy of our traditional foods alive.

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  • Born: Agana, Guam
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

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Fictions of Return in Filipino America

Eric Estuar Reyes

2011 - 2013 Criticism 18 pages. Courtesy of Duke University Press.

positions 19.2 (2011): 99-117.

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Eric Estuar Reyes

b. 1965

Eric Estuar Reyes is currently Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at California State University at Fullerton.  He was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965, spent his childhood in Hawai’i (USA), Naples (Italy), Rhode Island, New Orleans, LA (USA), and San Diego, CA (USA).  In the U.S., he has lived in Santa Cruz, Providence, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  He received his Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University, his M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his B.A., with majors in Mathematics and Modern Society and Social Thought, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

His research interests focus on race and space with specific attention to Filipino America, queerness, urban spaces in the U.S. and Asia, and community cultural development.  He has worked on projects in various places including Manila and Los Angeles.  Dr. Reyes is currently completing a manuscript on the sociospatial production of Filipino America.  

Throughout his career, Dr. Reyes has worked with community-based organizations working on community health issues such as HIV/AIDS in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and community arts development in Filipino American communities.  He has worked with organizations in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

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  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Sarita Echavez See

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Sarita Echavez See was born in New York City but raised as an "embassy brat" moving from city to city around the world. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she first became involved with U.S. women of color politics, especially the arts and culture movement. She obtained her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. While studying in New York City, she met the Filipino American artists and writers who inspired and continue to inspire her teaching and scholarship. In 2013, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Riverside, where she is an associate professor of Media and Cultural Studies. She previously taught at Williams College, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of California, Davis. Her research and teaching interests include Asian American and Filipino American cultural critique, postcolonial and empire studies, narrative, and theories of gender and sexuality. She is the author of the book-length study The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), in which she argues that contemporary Filipino American forms of aesthetic and performative abstraction powerfully expose and indict the history of American imperialism as itself a form of abstraction. She is at work on the book-length project “Against Accumulation,” which is a study of the politics of accumulation in the American museum and university and of the politics of anti-accumulation in Filipino American theatre, writing, and visual art. She was one of the core organizers of the 2011 conference "Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide" held at the University of California, Riverside, and she has served as a member of the working board of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association. In her work with the Center for Art and Thought and its focus on the contemporary medium of the digital, she envisions CA+T to be a transnational venue for more meaningful, reciprocal encounters between artists and scholars, and she is committed to fostering new forms of literacy, rather than tutelage, and to the transformation, rather than the mere transmission and replication, of knowledge.

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  • Born: New York, NY, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Imin Yeh Interviews Johanna Poethig about Placesettings

Imin Yeh Johanna Poethig

2011 Interview 14 minutes Courtesy of the author.

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Imin Yeh

b. 1983

IMIN YEH received a B.A.in Art History with Asian Option from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005) and an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts (2009). She creates sculptures, installations, downloadable crafts, and participatory artist-led projects. Recent projects include a 2012 commission from the San Jose Museum of Art and a year-long parasitic contemporary art space called SpaceBi that takes place in the Asian Art Museum. She has exhibited at the Asian Art Museum, Zero1 Biennial, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Meridian Gallery, Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, Intersection for the Arts, Pro Arts Gallery, Mission Cultural Center, and Southern Exposure. She has been invited to be an Artist in Residence at Montalvo Art Center in Saratoga, CA (2010), Blue Mountain Center in New York (2011), and Sandarbh Artist Workshop in Partapur, India (2013), and Recology San Francisco (2014). She has received an Individual Artist Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission (2011), Murphy and Cadogan Fellowship (2008), and the Barclay Simpson Award (2009). She was recently awarded a 2014-2016 Eureka Fellowship through the Fleishhacker Foundation and is an adjunct lecturer at San Jose State University.

Imin Yeh is an interdisciplinary project-based artist, working in sculpture, installation, participatory events, and print. The projects are reactions to the systems surrounding how objects are made and how objects are desired, valued, and consumed. The diversity of her practice is unified by a continual pushing at the boundaries of printmaking, a medium at the intersection of popular literacy, commercialism, and social engagement. This process-based medium and its potential for multiples reflects the inherent relationship between process and product, a laying bare of the labor involved that echoes the contemporary necessity for efficiency, production, and profit. Copying the very aesthetic and process that is ubiquitous in the mass-production of commercial industry, the projects blur the lines between imaginary and “real” businesses, people, and/or products. Through humor, satire, and participation, the projects try to implicate the viewer into more critical dialogue about the invisible labor and the stories behind the objects we consume.

SpaceBi unofficially occupied the Asian Art Museum as a studio for developing new work from August 2011-August 2012. Access to the museum was through a “buying-in” process; I procured a high-level membership, institutionally referred to as the “Jade Circle,” and gained the ability to invite three guests to enjoy the use of a private room and garden in a public institution. For one year, I manipulated this privilege to exhibit contemporary creative and critical projects that hoped to be a forum for alternative programming and dialogue, re-imagining the use of this public space and collection and forging new connections between inherited cultural objects and creative practices today.

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Johanna Poethig

b. 1956

Johanna Poethig’s work crosses public and private realms. She studied at Jose Abad Santos Memorial City (JASMS) in Quezon City; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and got her M.F.A. at Mills College. She has exhibited her paintings, sculpture, public art works, murals, installations and video internationally. Poethig works with other artists, architects, planners, curators and communities on social and artistic interventions in our shared spaces. She produces and participates in performance events that mix feminism, global politics, cabaret, experimental music and video. Poethig is a professor at the Visual and Public Art department at California State University, Monterey Bay. She grew up in the Philippines and lives in Oakland, California.

Filipino food is my soul food. That is what I grew up eating. Every meal ends in my fingers. I grew up in Malate, downtown Manila, under the acacia tree that still stands. The year was divided up first into seasons of fruit and secondly into dry and rainy days. Mango season, santol season, sineguelas, lanzones, kamias, and the year-round papaya and bananas dipped in oil and brown sugar and barbequed. Mango season meant green mangos, crisp, white, sour and cut up in the latest fashion. I will not lie and say I eat balot. But I love pancit bihon, lumpia, sinigang and squid in ink and all things with patis, sour, soy sauce, vinegary and drenched in calamansi. As I designed the mural for the new I-Hotel, I read the poems by Al Robles and his times with the Manongs, eating, dancing, dreaming of lands I could also taste, smell and see. I had a vision of Placesetting. The tables of storytelling. A public art work for the personal everyday setting. The making of Placesetting was a labor of love. Researching and choosing the poems, the pictures and putting them together on the plates, bowls and mugs. Like eating, it was an everyday ritual and deeply satisfying.

Placesetting combines the utilitarian objects of a table setting with the art, necessity, emotion and politics of creating home and community. Finding housing and creating a place to call home is particularly relevant in our current economic crisis, but it is also a common thread through all human experience. This project is specific to this site and the Chinatown and Manilatown communities. San Francisco’s culture is rooted in the many different peoples who have made their homes here, and the history and struggle associated with the International Hotel (I-Hotel) is just one example of the many individual and collective struggles behind that effort to find a “setting” place – a home.

The Placesetting exhibit offers “souvenirs” to display or to use, as works of art, as remembrances or as objects of curiosity. Images from the Manilatown Heritage Foundation’s Archival Project; poems of Al Robles, Serafin Syquia, Nancy Hom, Genny Lim and Oscar Penaranda; saved newspaper articles lent by Mrs. Lee; objects from the Filipino and Chinese community; and imagery responding to the metaphors, myths and memories that resonate with the artist’s own experience growing up in the Philippines are fired onto bought and hand cast dinnerware. Digitally printed tablecloths, placemats and coasters are canvases for the installation.

As art or as utility, ceramics has built civilizations. They are the precious remains of archeological sites from which we piece together the past. They are the kitsch objects that line the shelves of the avid collector. They are the “revolutionary ceramics” of the Constructivists, feminist classics like Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party and astounding public art of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona. California has its own rich history in the development of ceramic arts and experiments in individual, public, community art and practices. Placesetting sets a table for this occasion, this place, this aesthetic of the home and the museum, for the everyday and for history.

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  • Born: New Jersey, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

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Mediated Diasporas: Material Translations of the Philippines in a Globalized World

Deirdre McKay Mark Johnson

2011 Criticism 16 pages. Courtesy of IP Publishing.

South East Asia Research 19. 2 (2011): 181-196.

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Deirdre McKay

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Dr. McKay is a Senior Lecturer in Social Geography and Environmental Politics at Keele University. Previously she held appointments as a Postdoctoral Fellow and then Research Fellow in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. McKay earned her B.A. (1st Hons) in Biology and Master's in Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University (Canada) and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of British Columbia. Dr. McKay's research draws on both social/cultural geography and social anthropology to explore people's place-based experiences of globalization and development. She is interested in the long-distance relations that connect outmigrants to their sending communities, changes in local livelihoods and the possibilities for locally sustainable, alternative economic development, and environmental degradation linked to migration. Dr. McKay does fieldwork in the global South and also with migrant communities from developing areas who have moved into the world's global cities. Much of her work has been conducted with people who originate in indigenous villages in the northern Philippines. Dr. McKay is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and edited collections. Her book, Global Filipinos: Migrants' Lives in the Virtual Village, was published in 2012 by Indiana University Press.

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Mark Johnson

b. 1963
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I was born in Oklahoma in 1963, but I spent most of my childhood in the Southern Philippines, living in Sulu and Zamboanga.  It is that early experience that underpins my continuing interest in and research about Filipino Muslims in particular.  After taking my first degree in California, I moved subsequently to the U.K. where I undertook postgraduate training, first in Archaeology and then Anthropology, at University College London.

My research interests and writing are focused broadly around the issues of gender/sexuality, landscape and material culture, movement and transnationalism. I have conducted ethnographic research in the Philippines, Vietnam, Costa Rica and, more recently, Saudi Arabia. My original research in the Philippines was concerned with gender and sexual diversity in the context of both real and imagined movements of people and the growth of ethno-nationalist discourse. Recent Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research focused on the place of religion in the experiences of Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular.

Books

2011. Diasporic Journeys, Ritual, and Normativity among Asian Migrant Women. London: Routledge. (with Pnina Werbner, eds.)

1997. Beauty and Power:  Transgendering and Cultural Transformation in the Southern Philippines.  Oxford: Berg.

Edited Journal Issues

2012.  Queer Asian Subjects:  Transgressive Sexualities and Heteronormative Meanings.  Asian Studies Review 36(4) December. (with E. Blackwood, eds.)

2011. Mediated Diasporas: Material Translation of the Philippines in a Globalized World. South East Asia Research 19(2): 181-341. (with D. McKay, eds)

2010.  Diasporic Encounters, Sacred Journeys:  Ritual, Normativity and the Religious Imagination among International Asian Migrant Women. Special double issue of The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology11 (3-4): 205-448.  (with P. Werbner, eds.)

2000.  Gender and Sexual Diversity in East and South-East Asia. Culture, Health and Sexuality 2(4): 361-472. (with P. Jackson, eds.)

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  • Born: Oklahoma, USA
  • Based: Hull, England, UK

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Pappy’s House: History, Pop Culture and the Reevaluation of a Filipino-American “Sixty-cents” in Guam

Vicente M. Diaz

2002 Criticism 22 pages. Courtesy of New York University Press.

From Vestiges of War. Edited by Angel Velasco Shaw and Luis H. Francia.

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Vicente M. Diaz

Vicente (Vince) M. Diaz, a Filipino-Pohnpeian scholar and writer from Guam, is Associate Professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology, with affiliations in History and Asian American Studies, at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He served on the faculty of the Asia/Pacific American Studies Program at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor since 2001 and before that for ten years at the University of Guam Micronesian Area Research Center.  He received his undergraduate and Masters degrees in Political Science from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, and his doctorate degree from the History of Consciousness program at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1992.

His book, Repositioning the Missionary: Rewriting the Histories of Colonialism, Native Catholicism, and Indigeneity in Guam (University of Hawai’i Press, 2010), examines the struggle of Native and Colonizer narratives in the efforts to canonize Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, the Jesuit priest killed by a Chamorro chief in Tomhom while establishing the Catholic mission in the Marianas. The work problematizes easy conclusions about Native-Colonizer relationships and makes suspect not only the written records but also the oral histories of the events surrounding the death of San Vitores.  Diaz also co-produced and directed the documentary, Sacred Vessels: Navigating Tradition and Identity in Micronesia (Moving Islands, 1997).  He is a leader of the field of Native Pacific Cultural Studies, and an international movement to develop Critical Indigenous Studies.

 

location

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  • Born: Guam
  • Based: Champaign, IL, USA

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Searching for the Land of Salt

Aileen Suzara

Oct 02, 2013 Blog post. Courtesy of the author. Kitchen Kwento

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Aileen Suzara

b. 1984
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Aileen Suzara is a land-based educator, eco-advocate, and cook. She was born in Washington, raised mostly on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and is currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her family spans the Philippines and North America, and these places define her. While she has spent years working towards building healthier communities, sustainable foods, and environmental justice, she also carries a torch for storytelling and its abilities to inspire, move, and transform. Currently, she is in the University of California, Berkeley’s graduate school of public health and nutrition. She is exploring the potential to lift up traditional Filipino-inspired foodways as one solution towards chronic disease that will also boost ecological health and the livelihood of small farmers. This goal builds on years of cooking, eating, growing food, conversations, and learning from many cultural and agricultural bearers.

When I was eight years old, I told my parents that I wanted to grow up to be a farmer and chef (and not a doctor, which is what they had hoped for). I’m still not sure where that desire came from, but it stuck. It was around this time that I also “discovered” my first Filipino cookbook, a falling-apart book brought overseas by my mother when they migrated. That was the start of a lifelong exploration into food and culture, and the rediscovery of a nearly-lost culinary legacy in our family.

I have always been fascinated by the cycles of the natural world, and I sought to learn everything I could along the pathway between soil, seed, plate, and self. While an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, I dropped out of pre-medicine to pursue an environmental pathway. I continued to circle around this love for food, its connection to land, and a desire to pursue healing in a different pathway than medicine.

Four years ago, I finally took a leap and trained as a natural chef. Wanting to know if food was the right path, I went on to win a Filipino food cook-off, which I read as a sign from the universe to keep going. However, I soon realized cooking alone could not fulfill a deeper calling to reconnect to the literal roots of food. I wanted to farm, so I continued on to train in agroecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s beloved Farm and Garden apprenticeship program, and I completed a second year in practice, living in a yurt, teaching, growing food, and raising chickens and goats on a small-scale organic farm. That yielded my absolute, deepest sense of connection: growing what we ate, feeling the movement of the day and the seasons, that tired yet satisfied feeling in muscles and bones. It deepened both a sense of honoring but also outrage at the status of growers in this country, whose handiwork feeds everyone.

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  • Born: Pasco, WA, USA
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

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SPAM/MAPS: Oceania

Michael Arcega

2007 Spam luncheon meat 48 in. x 36 in. x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist.

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Michael Arcega

Michael Arcega is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and installation. Though visual, his art revolves largely around language. Directly informed by historic events, material significance, and the format of jokes, his subject matter deals with sociopolitical circumstances where power relations are unbalanced.

Michael has a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute and an M.F.A. from Stanford University. His work has been exhibited at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Cue Arts Foundation, and the Asia Society in New York among many others. He was recently awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts. Michael is currently a Resident Fellow at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska.

As an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and installation, my work revolves largely around language and research. Directly informed by Historic events, material significance, and the format of jokes, my subject matter deals with sociopolitical circumstances where power relations are unbalanced.

I seek out cultural and historic markers embedded in objects, food, architecture, visual lexicons, and vernacular languages. For instance, vernacular Tagalog is infused with Spanish and English words, lending itself to verbal mutation. This malleability results in wordplay and jokes that transform words like Persuading to First Wedding, Tenacious to Tennis Shoes, and Masturbation to Mass Starvation. As a "Naturalized American," my practice draws from the sensibility of the insider and outsider-- making work from a constantly shifting position.

location

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  • Born: Manila, Philippines
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

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